HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook recommends changing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as Pennsylvanians change their clocks back this weekend.

“Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are examples of essential lifesaving apparatus,” Cook said. “Just like the rest of our household equipment, these devices require routine maintenance.  Simply put, a functional smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector is the most effective way to ensure one’s family members are alerted early enough to respond. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries regularly.”

Data from the National Fire Safety Protection Association, says that when a fire alarm sounds, occupants may have as little as two minutes to exit a building. Cook also stated that dead or missing batteries are the most common cause of a smoke alarm malfunction.

As quoted in the release, here are safety tips that can help you equip your home properly with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home including the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.